The highlight of my college career! I swear, it was by chance that they gave me ribbons in the colors of the Bulgarian flag! It's fate!

I just went through the highlight of my college career! Nothing can surpass the excitement and feeling of pride with myself after finishing my first swimming competition – not even the first day of classes, possibly not even graduation!

This swimming competition was probably one of the few competition sporting events I have ever participated in. But this is not the best part! The best part is that two semesters ago, I couldn’t swim!

Allow me to start from the beginning! During my sophomore year, I wanted to sign up for a sailing course here at Boston University. They told me that I needed to pass a swimming test. OK, I said to myself, thinking that I knew how to swim.

As it turned out, I knew how to move in the water from shallow point A to shallow point B using a stroke that resembles breaststroke only with my head above the water like a submarine’s periscope. No one at Sunny Beach had ever told me that this is not the right way to swim!

So needless to say, I got flunked. Not only that, but I also discovered that I am utterly terrified of the deep water (BU has an Olympic size pool) and can hardly hold my breath for more than 5 seconds (so much for hookah pipe). In other words, I almost got a heart attack and a panic attack simultaneously in that pool. I was that close to accepting that I will simply never learn how to properly swim (big deal, right..)

As a Bulgarian would say “Yes, but no!”  That night, I had a nightmare about drowning and woke up drenched in sweat and determined to learn how to swim!

Since then, I completed a beginning swim class, passed the swim test, completed beginning sailing and intermediate sailing, completed intermediate swimming, tried jet skiing, catamaran, wind surfing, and kayaking, went coasteering (jumping off 10 meter rocks in freezing 3-degree C water wearing full wetsuit, boots, and a helmet, off the coast of Wales) and now, successfully completed a swimming competition!

I don’t know if you can imagine how scared I was as I was about to do each of these things, and then how proud I felt with myself for not giving up and persevering. If there is one thing I learned in college, it is that I can do anything!

I participated in five events today – three individual and two relays in a team of four. I earned  ribbons for my individual events! And isn’t it just precious that the three of them – Second Place 100m backstroke, Third Place 50m breaststroke, and Fifth Place 100m freestyle, are in “White, Green, and Red”. Karma: I’m Swim Team Bulgaria! 

Me, windsurfing in calm waters near Sozopol, Bulgaria

Totally uncoordinated, but very very happy! Near Sozopol, Bulgaria

Kayaking in full gear near Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK

Coasteering with Preseli Venture

Coasteering - climbing up rocks and then jumping off! Wales, UK

And sailing on the Charles in Boston!

Read more about the Bulgarian beach here:

Armin Van Buuren at Cacao Beach

Nesebar and Sand Sculpture Fest in Burgas

And about rowing on the Charles here:

 Joking with the Turkish Rowers, Head of the Charles 2010

The best picture of the Head of the Charles 2011 ever!